Kink Haus

 

By Steve Nardoni

 

Gunnar Montana, a Philly-based choreographer and performance artist last night transformed the basement at La Mama in the East Village into an insane and rollicking underground club of queer nightlife. Although decorated with Tom of Finland, chains, banners, a tube slide, lurid graffiti, a pull-out oiled floor, American flags, underwear, and dildos, the space did not really prepare us for the even more outlandish costumes, foot-stomping music and unbelievably athletic dancing on and around props like bathtubs, the afore-mentioned oiled floor, and gym equipment. The 55 minute performance had the chops of a 2 hour show.

 

Gunnar (and his cohorts in fabulousness, Avi Borouchoff, CJ Coleman, Jessica Daley, Dylan Kepp, Frank Leone and Stephanie Lyneice) just rammed themselves right into us from the start. Their runway intro prepares us for a panoply of “costumes on acid” to come, along with hair colors and makeup that would make a drag queen jealous. How about a queer version of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” backed-up by “Dreamgirls” as envisioned by Ru Paul?   Or flag-draped queens with gay-flag hair, satirically singing “God Bless America” into a dildoed mic? All bolstered with nipple rings, pasties, chainsaws, jocks, furs and confetti and manpups in bondage. Throughout, Montana intersperses the sense of homoerotic hyper-masculinity with a thorough blend of recognizable faggotry and sissiness

Just the outlandish costumes alone would make for a hoot of a show, but Montana doesn’t stop there. The real gist of the rollercoaster performances is dancing.

 

 

Montana and the cast perform, solo and ensemble, in astonishingly athletic choreography, powerful, yet graceful. Like the dancing that Daley does atop and inside a bathtub as prop that is simply astonishing. The same holds true of the trio of Leone, Borouchoff and Kepp who frolic and flip over dildoed gym equipment. And Lyneice literally oils her way around the floor in an erotic pastiche. The dancing is out of control.

But one cannot ignore Montana’s flavoring of the production with a number of themes. One, the influence of alcohol and drugs on gay culture, and nightlife in particular. A couple dance, with a coke-fueled intensity that is so recognizable to that drug. Two, the goddamn, F U attitude that nothing is out of our reach.

Photos: Theo Cote

 

Presented at La Mama in association with Howl Arts, Inc., 66 East 4th Street on September 23, 2018. Through October 6th.

 

 

 

 

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